How to win friends and influence people

Mr. D. is out of town for the next four days, leaving me at home alone for a weekend-plus. This has brought to the surface something that I have been trying not to deal with: our lack (or, even more specifically, my lack) of friends here.

OK, so that’s not totally fair. I have some friends here — old college friends, a few from law school, and even a friend from high school.  But none of them live anywhere near where we do and they all have settled and rich lives here, and I’m having trouble figuring out how I (or we) fit into their lives.

This also raises one of my own flaws. I am very bad at making friends. I am a good friend, but I seem to stumble into those friendships that I do have. I don’t really know how to affirmatively make friendships.

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out why I am bad at making friendships and I think I’ve decided that, at the core of it, I am insecure, convinced that I am bothering people when I go to make plans with them, that they are only being nice, and that even if I manage to make plans with someone once, they won’t want to see me again, at least not soon. And when I do muster up the confidence to make plans a second time, I never know what plans to make.

Example: I ran into an old college acquaintance shortly after moving here. We swapped info and eventually made plans to have dinner. We had a good time. This college friend then invited us to a party at her house, with a group of her friends, which we went to — and which we enjoyed. And now I guess the ball is back in my court, but I don’t know what activity to suggest to this friend! Another intimate meal seems strange, I think, but I am pretty sure we also don’t know enough people here to successfully plan a party — not to mention that whole we-don’t-live-near-anyone-else thing.

So I find myself now facing four days — and more to the point, the weekend — without any plans to see anyone but myself in the mirror. Part of that was probably poor forethought on my part, but I admit that I forgot Mr. D. would be out of town this weekend until just a few days ago. I often think of myself as an introvert — after spending a lot of time socializing, I do need a chunk of time by myself to recharge. But I’m not totally an introvert, because after spending a lot of time alone or with Mr. D, I find myself really needing time with other people.

Therefore I put the question to you (if there are any of you out there): how do you meet people when you move to a new place? A few notes on that — my workplace is small and there are only two other associates at my firm who don’t have kids, and I had to give up the choir I joined right after I moved here because dealing with the commuting issues was making me hate singing. Given those conditions, what should I be doing? How much pestering people is too much pestering? What are good suggestions for things to suggest to people when making plans that aren’t dinner (either out or in).

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Stay-at-home wifely adventures, Day 2

I have unpacked the rest of the books. All books now live on shelves. No books live near their natural book friends (except my cookbooks, which Mr. D. kindly collected on the shelf nearest the kitchen). The disorganization of the books bothers me but I’m not sure I have the energy to deal with it right now. Maybe after we have everything else in place I can think about reorganizing the books.

In better news, though, I am pretty much finished with the master closet. I even unpacked Mr. D.’s shoes. I still need to reorganize my dresser — and we still need to buy another dresser because we don’t have enough space for all of our clothes — but things are more or less put away.  Except scarves, gloves and hats — and I am really dreading figuring out where those things will live and how they’ll be organized. My standard “throw them all in a pile near the door” method isn’t going to work here, unfortunately.

It’s definitely starting to look (and feel) more like home around here. But it’s not going to be totally comfortable until we have seating in the living room — which means furniture shopping this week. Wish us luck finding a couch we can both live with.

Monday

I am on day one of four days of Funemployment. And I’m starting it out the right way: I just finished Catching Fire (on my Kindle!) and now I’m watching the season premiere of Glee. Later today I’ll do some unpacking and organizing, maybe even get my desk set up.

Or maybe I won’t.

Home

After a five-and-a-half hour drive Friday night and a fourteen-hour drive Saturday, I am home in my new city with my husband and my dog. I am exhausted but mostly totally happy. (The mostly because this place is still a disaster and so much unpacking still has to be done.)

It seems unfair to let it burn off like fog

This really has been the best job ever. I’ve loved it. And I just left for the last time.

I’d like to take some time to process the emotions but I can’t because I’m on my way to get my rental car and then I’ll be loading up my stuff and then I’ll be leaving Chicago for good. There is so much going on in my head and heart right now and I don’t have any time to just sit and deal with it. I guess I can do some of that on today’s drive, but that’s not really ideal. I need a dark room and some sad music and then some happy music. And I have the feeling that, by Sunday, when I’ll have time to process, it’ll be gone, having slipped away unacknowledged. That’s not fair to my grief and wistfulness, to just let it dissolve without some sort of recognition.

Packing up for the last time

I finally started packing things up tonight. I have three more days, really, to get everything ready to go, so there’s not that much time! That being said, there’s not a lot of stuff in here, so it won’t take too much time overall. Still, I don’t want to be stressed out on Thursday night, so I tackled a few of the obvious targets this evening.

First, I packed up all of my workout clothes. Realistically, I am not going to run this week. The weather isn’t going to be cooperative and I just have too much other stuff going on. I’m not exactly proud of how uncommitted I’ve been to staying fit over the last 10 weeks — and particularly over the last four, to be really honest — but it is what it is, and I’ll be a lot less stressed knowing that I’ve just made a blanket decision to pack away all that stuff.

Second, I finally went through the pile of bathroom stuff that I just threw in a box when I moved into the sublet. I threw out those multitudes of tubes of Glove Potion Number Nine as well as old travel-size containers of shampoo and conditioner that I don’t use and a few nearly empty bottles of hair product. I neatly wrapped up my flat iron and curling iron — just in case I should someday grow my hair out again — and packed them into a bathroom caddy. And I threw out the sort-of tacky rattan and wire basket that all that stuff was crammed into and that I’ve been lugging around since we left Texas for Chicago. I don’t really like the basket and we definitely don’t have a spot for it in the new place, so out it went. That felt really good.

Finally, I rewrapped the fragile items that I’ve been lugging around (some antique crystal that was my great-grandmother’s that my aunt gave me recently and some old decorative china from Mr. D’s grandmother) and added the amber hobnail glass dish I picked up a few weekends ago at the neighborhood art festival (I know, it’s not really wise to buy more stuff when you’re in transition, but this piece is gorgeous and it was CHEAP). I tossed some magazines I picked up over the last few weeks. And I took my chipped toenail polish off. (OK, that’s not really a packing task, but it needed to be done before I packed away the nail polish remover, so I think it counts.)

I feel good about having gotten started. If I can keep it up — doing a little bit each night this week — I should be in good shape to get out of here on time Friday afternoon.

If you don’t like it, wait a few minutes.

I fully intended to spend today packing up those clothes I definitely won’t wear in the next five days. I figured those clothes would include most of my tank tops and t-shirts — and most of my skirts as well — because it’s been chilly here in Chicago.

Except I just looked at the weather and it’s supposed to get hot again this week. Back up into the 80s. And then back down into the 60s and low 70s. So I am going to have to keep out a variety of clothes for the week because I have no idea what the weather will be like from day to day — will it actually get that warm? Will it be super windy so the warmth doesn’t really matter? Will it rain? The forecast is not very helpful — this is Chicago, after all, and when the five-day shows medium chances of rain most days but also medium chances of sun and cloud cover…well, I know the weather could do just anything.

Five days. That’s all that I have left before I get to be home.